ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) on Wednesday opened a ministerial meeting on issues between Sudan and South Sudan and the crisis in Mali in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The meeting was set to hear the interim report of the AU High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) and the report of the chairperson of the commission on the situation in Mali.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission, noted that the session was held against the background of a mixed peace and security landscape on the continent.
The chairperson hailed remarkable achievements made in Somalia, between Sudan and South Sudan and in a number of countries emerging from conflicts.
Meanwhile, she noted that Africa is faced with complex and worrying developments in northern Mali, the Sahel region and the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The situation in those parts of the continent needs renewed and robust efforts, Zuma said, reiterating the AU's commitment to address the issues and achieve a goal of conflict-free Africa.
Lauding Sudan and South Sudan for reaching agreement over conflicts, the chairperson encouraged the two sides to stay the course as the implementation phase creates confidence.
"I assure them that the AU will stand by them shoulder-to- shoulder in this process," she said.
Final status of Abyei, disputed border areas and the conflict in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States of Sudan are the three outstanding matters to be tackled between the two countries.
"The establishment of sustainable and cooperative relations between Sudan and South Sudan requires the final delineation of their common border, a decision on the future status of Abyei Area, as well as the peaceful resolution of internal conflicts within each state," said Zuma.
Regarding the crisis in Mali, the chairperson said it is a serious threat to peace and security of Africa.
She stressed that the recent high-level meeting in the Malian capital Bamako welcomed the Draft Strategic Concept for a resolution, which was developed by the AU Commission in consultation with the Malian authorities, the West African bloc ECOWAS, the United Nations, the European Union and other stakeholders.
"As part of the approach contained in the Strategic Concept and in line with relevant decisions of this Council and the UN Security Council, we are working with the Malian authorities, ECOWAS, the UN, the EU and other partners to finalize the joint planning for early deployment of an African-led international force to help Mali recover the occupied territories in the North," said the chairperson.
"At same time, we will leave the door of dialogue open to those Malians willing to negotiate on the basis of a clear commitment to the respect of Mali's unity, territorial integrity and rejection of links with terrorists and criminal groups," she added.
Zuma called for Africa's utmost solidarity with Mali, which has scrambled with the crisis since the March 22 coup and rebels took advantage of the coup to control the north of the West African country in April.
"We have to provide this country with whatever means at our disposal to help it restore in earnest State authority over the northern part of the country. We have to do everything in our power to consolidate Malian leadership and ownership of the ongoing efforts," she said.